McKesson Shares New Initiative to Support Advocacy Efforts for the Pharmacy Profession

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Panelists identify key public policies that pharmacies would benefit from acting on in 2024.

At the 2024 McKesson ideaShare conference, speakers announced the McKesson Amplify initiative, a new advocacy sponsorship approach that aims to provide opportunities for eligible state pharmacy associations to request meaningful, dedicated funding from McKesson to meet local and state association advocacy goals. Following a "patient comes first" philosophy, the initiative looks to provide aid to shield pharmacy services from harmful legislation and advance the pharmacy profession by strengthening its voice in state governments.

“The sound of a single voice can only be heard so far. Working together, we have an opportunity to collectively raise the profession and turn up the volume in support of independent community pharmacy across the nation,” said Jeanine Singer, SVP, National and Key Accounts & Field Sales from McKesson.

Pharmacy Payment Models, Provider Status, and Advocacy

Building on the announcement and continuing with the advocacy theme, Nancy Lyons, BSPharm, MBA, CDCES, VP and chief pharmacy officer from Health Mart, was joined by Douglas Hoey, pharmacist and chief executive officer, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA); Michael Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP, executive vice president and chief executive officer, American Pharmacists Association (APhA); and Krystalyn Weaver, PharmD, JD, executive vice president and chief executive officer, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, for a panel discussion during the general session. The panelists shared new initiatives that could raise awareness regarding policy matters and urged independent pharmacists to help advocate for change.

Hogue noted that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release a score on H.R.1770, the pharmacist’s provider status bill, this summer. The CBO score is an important step in the legislative process for 1770. The pharmacy profession has long sought to advance federal policies that recognize and advance the critical role pharmacists play in delivering essential care to their communities. Hogue urged pharmacists and their pharmacy associations to contact members of congress and engage in conversations to help them understand the critical role pharmacists play as cornerstones of their communities.

The panelists reiterated that membership in one organization did not preclude membership in another, and that all the organizations on stage work together to advance the profession. “We don't see membership as a competitive thing across these organizations. All pharmacists need to be members of their state pharmacy association, of APhA, and if you're independent owner, you must be a member of a NCPA- and all 3 of those levels really matter. They need your support so that we can do what we do and advocate for the profession of pharmacy,” said Weaver.

APHA's Value to Pharmacists

Hogue noted that APhA has become a Medicare-approved and CMS-approved diabetes care hub. Over the last year, APhA members who are community pharmacists have been paid about $2.5 million in professional services fees for diabetes care provided through the program.

Additionally, Hogue announced a new APhA membership discount available to the Health Mart network of independent pharmacies. The discount includes 30% off APhA membership dues to all Health Mart pharmacies and applies to new practitioners and pharmacist membership fees. Additionally, pharmacy technicians may join for $29.

Role of NCPA

NCPA aims to protect and promote the interests of independent pharmacies to ensure success for patients, communities, and the entirety of the health care system. As part of this work, Hoey noted that NCPA is focused on changing the pharmacy payment model.

“All the work that we do questions how can we change the pharmacy payment model to make it a fairer system, to make it equitable, to get paid for your services as well as a fair dispensing fees for prescriptions,” said Hoey.

NASPA Priorities

Weaver noted that her vision for NASPA in the future includes maintaining their position as the source of truth for state policy information. The state pharmacy associations are the preeminent voices in state legislatures—NASPA wants to ensure they have information about the latest and greatest of what’s happening across the country.

“As each new innovation takes place in one part of the country, we want to help spread it out so that we can all learn better from each other. The state pharmacy associations need support though, and so I'm also focused on trying to identify ways to get resources to them so they can do what they do. They can focus less on generating revenue and more on advocating for pharmacy, which is what they do best,” said Weaver.

Weaver commended the McKesson Amplify program and said that NASPA will do everything in their power to help state pharmacy associations implement new programs to expand their reach, while taking full advantage of the new partnership.

Reference
Turn It Up! Let's Beat the Drum of Advocacy. Presented at: McKesson ideaShare 2024; June 23-June 26, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana.
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